Author Archive for: izeanumah

About Ize Anumah

Ize Anumah is a twenty year old medical student from Nigeria. She loves to write and she cannot think of a better person to write about than Jesus! She is passionate about encouraging young women because she truly believes that a woman in Christ can change the world! Want to read more from Ize? www.lightinwords.com
  • In elementary school, we had a project where we were given seeds and we were supposed to plant it, take care of it until it germinated, then present it to the class. It’s safe to say that I learned then that my fingers were anything but green because my plant just wouldn’t grow. I had […]

    Is Your Heart Good Soil For God’s Word?

    In elementary school, we had a project where we were given seeds and we were supposed to plant it, take care of it until it germinated, then present it to the class. It’s safe to say that I learned then that my fingers were anything but green because my plant just wouldn’t grow. I had classmates whose plants not only germinated, but also bore fruit after a while. The difference? Good soil, sunlight, and water.
    In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about a sower who scatters seeds (the word) on different types of ground (the heart). (Matthew 13: 18-23)
     What kind of ground is your heart?

    1.The Footpath

    Think of this as a walkway. No soil, no water, and scorching sunlight. Of course, those seed never stood a chance. Birds and every crawling creature would also have a go at it. This is the kind of hostile environment we create for the word when we hear and don’t seek to understand.

    2.The Rocky Ground

    Seed sown here actually start to sprout, but the absence of nutrients from good soil prevent it from growing roots.  As a result, any force such as wind, rain or foot could uproot it from the ground. I have a personal experience with this because this is where my heart was. I would study the word every morning, journal and pray but that would be the end of it. I did not meditate on it during the day, nor did I put what I learned into practice or allow it to effect any changes in my lifestyle. Eventually, when troubles and trials came, I had nothing to hold on to and would fall back to feelings of anger, despair and doubt. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the fact that if I allow the word to have its effect on me, then in periods of testing I would be standing firm in faith.

    3.Thorns

    I like to think of this like weeds. Wherever there are weeds, there’s probably good soil because weeds need nutrients to grow too. However, weeds steal all the good nutrients, causing the fruit to choke out and wither away. All the cares of this world: wealth, prestige, relationships, career success can serve as weeds competing with the word in our hearts. Think of a Christian who, for the want of a relationship, gets herself into an unequally yoked situation, or a Christian who compromises her values to earn that grade, contract, or even acceptance from peers. Sometimes, regardless of the depth the word has attained in us, some of our wants and desires drive us to do certain things that are contrary to the will of God for us.

    4.Good soil

    Jesus describes this heart as one that hears, understands, and practices the word. This would be a Christian that hears the word, meditates on the word, applies it to daily living and keeps it foremost in their lives relinquishing their cares and desires to second place. This is not a perfect person, but someone that is convicted by the word when they go astray and seeks repentance afterward. In season and out of season, good and bad times, rain or sunshine, they yield fruit and the world sees it and glorify their father in heaven.
    Take some time to ask yourself these questions: 
    -Is the word yielding any fruit in my life? 
    -Can people identify that I am a Christian without me telling them?
    -Do I see a change in my lifestyle with continuous study of the Bible and church attendance? 
    -Do hard times make me take more backward steps  than forward ones?
    -Does my quest for wealth and success make me do things that are contrary to the word?
    Identify where your heart is and ask God to help you make the necessary changes so that your heart may be good soil for the word of God and you can reap a thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold harvest. 
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  • I’ve had the competitive streak for as long as I can remember. Although I’d often say I hated competitions, in my mind I was always in one with the next person- at school, in church, with my friends, my siblings, you name it. I’d walk into a place for the first time and immediately start […]

    Resisting Comparison and Competition

    I’ve had the competitive streak for as long as I can remember. Although I’d often say I hated competitions, in my mind I was always in one with the next person- at school, in church, with my friends, my siblings, you name it. I’d walk into a place for the first time and immediately start analyzing everyone to see those that would be my rivals. Truth is, I didn’t exactly want to be the best, just better than everyone else.

     

    Sometimes I think that society has played a large role in fueling this spirit of competition. Where I grew up, we always employed the concept of positions. Meaning, from elementary school all the way to high school, someone came first and someone came last in class.

     

    My parents and their parents grew up being celebrated for being first and castigated for anything else- that’s how they raised me too. The funny thing was that no one cared if you got a perfect grade. It didn’t matter if you got a 40% average in a class, as long as that put you first in class, it was fine. And that’s just one example, I’m sure you have several of yours. We’ve been conditioned to run our races looking sideways at the other runners instead of forward towards the finish line.

     

    Child of God, comparison and competition are the thief of joy and peace! Your worth is not based on your successes or failures or who you are better or worse than. It is not based on another person’s opinion or even yours. The person that made you is the only one that can define you. He says:
    “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day I had holy plans for you, a prophet to the nations, that’s what I had in mind for you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) 

     

     “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night and day difference he made for you, from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2: 9-10 MSG)

     

    Isn’t that all that should matter? He does not see you through the lens of your achievements much less that of those around you. He created you uniquely with your own set of strengths and weaknesses to do things in a way that’s different from any other person, not better or worse, but different.

     

    Are you tired, exhausted, sick of trying to keep up? I definitely am. I’m done feeling inadequate, basing my value on how I compare to the next person, and I’m sure you are too. Ever heard of a problem shared is half solved? Well, one acknowledged is half solved too! We must tell ourselves the truth and be naked with God.

     

    Don’t be afraid to say, “Lord, I have a problem with comparison and unhealthy competition.”

     

    It’s important to identify it and accept that we struggle with it. Then ask for grace to overcome it. Spoiler alert! One of the most efficient ways to overcome a thing, is to face it as many times as it takes you to master it. God will present you with situations everyday where you’re faced with the temptation to compare. And each time, you must make a choice. It’ll be hard at first; it might even seem impossible. You’ll fall a couple of times (I know I have). But you’ll also win too. As you walk with him, you’ll begin to choose contentment more often than you chose to compare. You’ll begin to find peace in your successes and failures, you’ll celebrate the joys of others and mourn with them in their sorrow instead of competing with them. You’ll want to be no one else but who God has made you to be.

     

    It might take a while, but we’ll definitely get there. Keep fighting sister!

     

     “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other or trying to be something we aren’t.” (Romans 12:6 MSG) 
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  • Do what makes you happy. As long as you’re happy, nothing else matters. This is slowly but steadily becoming the mantra of our generation. It is the song on the lips of many motivational speakers, both Christian and secular. But the question remains, is happiness really the yardstick to measure a life of fulfillment? Will […]

    Pursuit of Happiness vs. Pursuit of Holiness?

    Do what makes you happy.
    As long as you’re happy, nothing else matters.
    This is slowly but steadily becoming the mantra of our generation. It is the song on the lips of many motivational speakers, both Christian and secular. But the question remains, is happiness really the yardstick to measure a life of fulfillment? Will what is good for you always make you happy? And most importantly, will happiness help you lead a life that glorifies God?
    The Cambridge dictionary defines happiness as a state of being happy. Happy is defined as showing pleasure or satisfaction. In that light, let’s take me for an example: I love ice cream; It truly makes me happy. If I were to do what made me happy, I’d have ice cream every second of every day. But can I? Or rather, should I?
    Further, there have been several times people have stepped on my toes and in all honesty, what would have constituted happiness for me at that time would be to call them out in a way that’ll hurt them as much as they hurt me… but would that have been the right and Christian thing to do?
    I’m sure you can think of countless examples of things that would make you happy right now. Chocolate, shopping, social media, Netflix, gossip, unequally yoked relationships, to mention but a few. Some you shouldn’t overindulge in, and others you shouldn’t even patronize at all. Happiness, as wonderful as it feels, is exactly that- a feeling.
    The problem with feelings is they are fickle. They change so often depending on the environment, and they can be misleading.
    Holiness on the other hand is the standard God has called us to live by. It is defined as a state of being consecrated and dedicated to God. The bible states:
    “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your conduct [be set apart from the world by your godly character and moral courage]; because it is written, You shall be holy (set apart), for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16 AMP)
    Therefore, our first mandate as Christians is to pursue holiness, not happiness. We are to seek to glorify God in our thoughts, words and actions, to live a life that represents our citizenship in heaven.
    To do this we would need to put away the desires of our flesh which many times are the momentary sources of happiness to us. It can be likened to a person struggling with addiction. The one thing their flesh craves for is the very thing that is destroying them. Victory over their addiction would come with denying their flesh until it loses control over them. Eventually, their happiness would no longer be dependent on drugs. The same we as Christians must deny our flesh and exalt the holy spirit in our lives, until holiness becomes a source of happiness to us.
    “We know that our old self (our human nature without the holy spirit) was nailed to the cross with him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. For the person who has died with Christ has been freed from the power of sin.” (Romans 6:6-7 AMP)
    As confirmed in this verse, sin no longer has hold over us and holiness is now an attainable goal. The more we work towards living according to God’s standards, the happier we become.
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  • Anxiety is an enemy that is no stranger to many of us. Anxiety causes us to worry over tomorrow while  robbing us of the joy and peace of today, yet it is helpless regarding the future. While some may have the power to overcome anxious thoughts in an instant, for many of us, it will […]

    Five Biblical Tips on Overcoming Anxiety

    Anxiety is an enemy that is no stranger to many of us. Anxiety causes us to worry over tomorrow while  robbing us of the joy and peace of today, yet it is helpless regarding the future. While some may have the power to overcome anxious thoughts in an instant, for many of us, it will be a continuous process that will take patience and commitment. While you are on your journey, here are a few things that is important to remember:

    Remember That God Loves You!

    Pretty simple right? But it’s that fundamental piece of information that changes everything. Remember when we were kids? We never worried if we were going to eat, have clothes to wear, of if we were going to school. In fact, it probably never occurred to us that it took so much budgeting, and planning of resources to pull it off. Now, if our earthly parents love us enough to take care of us, how about our Heavenly Father that gave up an only son for our sake. We need to stop thinking God is out to get us. A father would never set up his child for failure or heartbreak. He loves you and he will never do anything to hurt you. If you have to paste this reminder on your mirror, your desk, or phone screensaver, then go ahead. You need to rest in the truth that the most powerful being to ever exist loves you and his favor rests on you.

    He Knows, He Sees, He Hears

    YOu may have heard the saying, ‘I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I know who holds tomorrow.’ Adopt this attitude!

    Do you know your father knew your tomorrow since your yesterday? (Jeremiah 29:11). “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

    He knew about that job, that scholarship, and that relationship before you even conceived the idea to pursue it. Those tears you shed at night and the prayers only your heart can say, he sees them and He has a plan for it.

    It Is Actually A Sin to Worry

    Yes! Did you know that it is actually against God’s will for you to worry? Jesus says that very clear in  Matthew 6:31. The same way Jesus says ‘Do not’ for the so called ‘big sins’ is the same way he admonishes us not to worry. Just like lying, stealing, or cheating can create a rift between us and God,  so can anxiety. It clouds our hearts and prevents us from hearing from God. It also opens us up to the devices of the enemy and blinds us from appreciating what God is doing in our lives today. By the virtue of Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection, we have been given victory over sin.. this includes anxiety.

    You Do Not Have To Understand

    Many of us are very logical people. 1 + 1 has to equal 2. It adds up, it makes sense. But you see, in God’s equation, things do not always add up the way you’d expect. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Lose the thought that everything needs to make sense to you. Many times we worry because we can’t see a way out of the position we are in. Understand that we do not always have to see our way through, we  need only to hold on to the one who sees everything.

    Cast Those Burdens  

    This is advised in Matthew 11:28-30.  For some of us, this needs to become a daily ritual. Every morning before heading out and every night before bed. We need to cast our anxious thoughts and exchange them for that peace that surpasses all understanding. We need to make a conscious decision to keep our peace regardless of what hand life deals us that day. You might actually wake up one morning and be completely void of anxiety but until then, remember you were never designed to carry all that load so give it to the one who has offered to take all that away from you.

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    Dear Father,
    So many of us are locked in the prison of anxiety, worried about what tomorrow holds for us. Today, we release every anxious thought and we receive your peace. We know you have a wonderful plan for us and we believe that you are taking us there. Thank you for always having our backs. It’s in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
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